Final Deposits Before Wildflower and Ironman Texas

The last big training weekend before Ironman Texas is done and now it’s a matter of backing off the volume and peaking for the race on May 18. My training for this race was hardly what I expected when we registered  back in July. The last thing in my mind then was a stress fracture and spending November and December on crutches with my foot in a cast. As a result, I started the year with a much different baseline than usual. Thanks to a cast cover that enabled me to resume swimming while I still had a cast, my swimming was as good as ever. Cycling also came back pretty quickly. However, for running I had to focus largely on rehab. By late February I could again run for a full hour, albeit not very fast. However, my goals, first and foremost, were to fully recover and stay healthy. I accomplished both. Looking back, I know I trained to the limits of what my body could tolerate. I remember long runs when I finished feeling my hip starting to fail, knowing I had reached my limit. It is all I can ask for. I focused on what I could do (swimming and cycling), rather that what I could not (generally, more and faster running). Otherwise, anxiety and insecurity would have dictated my training. Healing had to take its own time. Now the money is in the bank and, with race preparation, it will accrue interest before we cash in at Ironman Texas.

First, though, we will once again head down to Lake San Antonio for the Wildflower Festival. This is a one of a kind event, one that should be on the bucket list of every triathlete in California. The course is extremely challenging – both the Long Course and Olympic. This means you go into the race with no context and no expectations, which actually makes it easier to have fun with it… or as much fun as you can when you are struggling up the hills at miles 4 and 10 of the run. The atmosphere and energy around the race is unlike any other, with thousands of people and an expo that includes wine tasting and, this year, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company as the beer sponsor. It’s just one more way that Chico has followed us to Wildflower.

This will be my fifth Wildflower and Gloria’s fourth. In the past we went for the Long Course (half-Ironman distance). Wildflower Long Course is a tough race and with this year’s focus on Ironman Texas, we initially planned to pass on it. However, after Wattie decided to make this a major event for the team we decided we would go, meet up with our Wattie teammates and old friends from Chico, and race the Olympic Distance as a “training race.”

In the professional race, Heather Jackson and Jesse Thomas are both returning to defend their titles. Heather Jackson won Ironman 70.3 Oceanside and Jesse Thomas nearly beat out Andy Potts, so both are going into this race super strong. Regardless, it will be a fun, exciting weekend. We will be volunteering at the PowerBar booth Saturday morning. If you pass by, please say hello and if you need pre-race crisis counseling, be sure to check in with Gloria.

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